As the Legislature approaches Monday's deadline for adjournment opinions are mixed regarding whether they will finish on time. Heading into the final weekend before the scheduled adjournment there are still an awful lot of unresolved questions.
One major accomplishment, which we applaud, is the smoking ban which the governor signed into law Wednesday. This legislation will likely be the legacy by which the 2007 legislative session is remembered.
A smoking ban in public places is an idea whose time had come. Health officials are calling it the most important step in public health in this state in 30 years. Minnesota became the 20th state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants and you can bet money that number will climb in the next few years.
Just as most people can't imagine why smoking was once allowed in movie theaters and airplanes, the populace will look back and wonder why it took Minnesota so long to reach the conclusion that all citizens are entitled to breath clean air if they're in a public establishment.
Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, is a cafe owner who strongly opposed the smoking ban.
"I for one don't like you putting your nose in my business," he said. "That's my air in that cafe, not yours. If you don't want to come, don't come."
While it might be his air in his cafe, the minute he opens up those doors to the public, that air is subject to laws and regulations relating to public safety. Just as laws require Rep. Heidgerken to accommodate customers with disabilities or obey fire codes, the state has every right to demand clean air for those who patronize his cafe.
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